Horizon Forbidden West went the extra mile to honor late Guerrilla Games lead producer Patrick Munnik with a special in-game memorial.
In Horizon Forbidden West, between Legacy’s Landfall and Thornmarsh, is a small island that can be reached by a series of sandbars. Scanning the island with Aloy’s focus reveals no loot to be found or machines to be hunted. It stands out from the rest of Forbidden West’s map, hiding an Easter egg that will only be revealed when Aloy steps on its shores.
Right away there is a sense that something about this island is special. No achievements or objectives are hiding there, only a fond memorial to a departed friend. This beautiful Easter egg was included to honor the late Patrick Munnik, the lead producer at Guerrilla Games until his death in 2019.
Munnik started working for Guerrilla Games in 2011 and was the producer behind Killzone: Shadowfall and Horizon Zero Dawn. At only 44 years old, he made his mark on the gaming industry before his sudden passing. 2013’s Killzone was a PlayStation 4 launch title and 2017’s Horizon Zero Dawn was massively successful, selling over 20 million copies and receiving critical acclaim.
It is with great shock and sadness we inform you that our lead producer Patrick Munnik is no longer with us. We are eternally grateful to have had our greatly valued and much loved Patrick on our team. pic.twitter.com/IpeNvSMmht
— Guerrilla (@Guerrilla) June 13, 2019
While Guerrilla included a dedication to Munnik in Horizon Forbidden West’s ending credits, it also went the extra mile to honor his memory with an in-game location. Following a path lined by candles brings Aloy to a scenic view of the ruins of San Francisco. As Aloy sits on a woven mat, the camera pulls out to a cinematic angle.
A chorus of Utaru singers rises in the background as Aloy reads a note left at the site: “Here, we remember our friend, with a view as calming as his voice, on stone as strong as his spirit. He was not just our rock , he was our oak, sturdy and stoic, whose presence brought us comfort and whose branches touched us all. Rest in peace.” Additionally, Aloy makes comments about how the memorial “must be for a beloved friend” who “sounds like he’s truly missed.” It’s evident from this tribute that Munnik meant a great deal to the team at Guerrilla Games.
While the note doesn’t mention a specific name, the language used indicates that it was written by a member of the Utaru tribe. The Utaru frequently use metaphors involving plants in their speech, and the note compares the departed to an oak. This is an interesting choice given the tribe’s philosophy and rituals surrounding life and death. Every Utaru has a seed pouch that they carry with them their entire lives, collecting seeds that are then planted upon their passing. This practice is symbolic of their belief in the cycle of life and death.
To the Utaru, death is natural and necessary, laying a foundation for new life to grow. The plants that grow from seed pouches of the fallen are looked after and treasured by their loved ones. To the Utaru, returning to the Earth and becoming part of that new cycle of life is sacred; from death comes new life. It seems only appropriate that the voices of the Utaru should be used to honor the departed Munnik, giving him an uplifting memorial that celebrates his life and the impact he left on those we worked with.
KEEP READING: How Horizon Forbidden West Sets Up a Sequel
Hogwarts Legacy Drops Stunning New Gameplay Trailer, Release Window
About The Author
(10 Articles Published)
Taylor Piscitello is a life-long gamer with an extensive knowledge of video game lore and history. When it comes to character histories and lore Taylor is an expert on many popular video game franchises, and takes regular deep dives into the most interesting and obscure facets of her favorite games. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in English and served as a script writer for the YouTube Channel TheThings, providing analysis, behind-the-scenes information and trivia on pop culture topics like Marvel, DC, and Disney. She has a wide and varied taste for games ranging from Animal Crossing to Dark Souls, and she’s always eager to try out a new RPG or Roguelike. When she doesn’t have her hands on a controller Taylor enjoys role playing and the occasional crochet project.
More From Taylor Piscitello